The Tragedy Of The American Farmer, Revealed In A Craiglist "For Sale" Post

Tyler Durden's picture

Not so long ago, US farmland - whose prices were until recently rising exponentially - was considered by many to be the next asset bubble. Then, almost overnight, the fairytale ended, and as reported in February, US farmland saw its first price drop since 1986.


But nobody has had it as bad as the US farmer, whose visions of fame and fortune have sadly gone up in a cloud of methanol smoke. Perhaps nothing captures the lives of quiet modern gothic desperation led by America's farmer than the following Craigslist posting about a Disk Ripper for sale.



* * *

Disk Ripper for sale - $8900

Back when corn was trading at $6, I thought it'd be a good idea to buy an overpriced used disk ripper at retail dealership prices. Continuous corn was going to make everyone rich anyway, and I needed something to deal with the thick stover and stalk residue. Besides that, the neighbors had just bought a new one, and I figured I needed to get one too. With $350 DDGs, $450 soybean meal, $18 beans and $7 corn in 2012, it was looking like I had made a good decision. So I tore up the pastures, ripped out the fencelines, and almost convinced my wife to plant corn in our front yard.

But on the pedagogic scale of great ideas that just didn't seem to work out, this idea will probably end up ranking somewhere between "urinating directly onto an electric fence" and "sticking my hand into the baler to clear out the jam"......... I don't mean to suggest that it was a total failure, however, because the character building lessons of defeat have proven inordinately profitable over the years. And this one certainly had its share of lessons - financial and otherwise.

Anyway, as the alcohol-induced corn boom (ethanol) violently turned to bust, un-pleasant realities of that mystical numberland called "Finance" started to appear. Turns out that the banker actually wants his money back WITH interest! I couldn't believe it.......... I had gotten so used to the government's farm welfare programs when corn was $2 that I almost forgot how markets and financing was supposed to work! Direct payments would just magically appear in my checking account, and I was one of the best at playing the LDP game. And then when corn was $6-7, it didn't matter what the banker said, because I couldn't wake up without money falling into my hands from the corn gods in Chicago!

But now, with negative margins and stubbornly expensive inputs, I need to sell this piece of equipment. It is a used 7 shank M&W 1875 disk ripper. It has the auto-resets, which is nice. As you can see in the pics, there is no harrow on the back to level out the ridges. You might think that's a bad thing, but I've found that a particularly rough field keeps the trespassers, hunters, poachers, snowmobilers, and meth lab junkies out of the field during the winter. It is in good working condition. The paint is faded which is also a good thing, because then the neighbors won't get too jealous when you go by their new shop. It's been kept outside for as long as I've owned it because only the really expensive toys get put inside. If you drive by Vetter or Van Wall, you'll notice that pretty much all of their inventory is kept outside too, so I don't feel bad about it.

I think $8,900 is a fair price. But if you want to pay more, then that's fine too......... My goodness! Dec corn got slaughtered yesterday...... down another 20 cents after the Planting Intentions report....... Let's make it $8,500 and everyone goes home a winner!

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HedgeAccordingly's picture

really is sad.. feel for the guy.... ... meanwhile VC and PE peeps rich as Phuck. Cruz raised 5million$ in a week .. farmers broke.. 

walküre's picture

Yeah, it's a real shame. Price of hog is crap and price of beef is in the stratosphere. But there's no water in CA to make hay literally.

In France the farmers take their protests to the streets and tractors blocking major arteries or even going for the capital. Imagine tractors on Wall Street and that disc could be useful ploughing up the roads to allow the pigs to roam again. It was always a pig's home.

jbvtme's picture

savory, judy, salatin...these guys know how to farm

Kotzbomber747's picture

Where's Jim Rogers and his "farmers driving Maseratis" bullshit?

TruthInSunshine's picture



Grifter's picture

They're putting the cash into massive new barns in my neck of the woods.  I live in Steuben County, NY and drive I-390 or 15A to work and there are barns being torn down with new MASSIVE replacements going up left & right.  There's one right along 390 just north of Avon that looks like they're just about finishing up.

Never One Roach's picture

My cousin lives in central texas says raw land has dropped 50% in the last two years but still is about 200% too overpriced. Land that was $1k an acre back in 2002 shot up to $10k or more and much is now below $6k. He expects more correction as the "rekovery" gets more robust.


He indicated the wealth people moving to Texas want ot be in the action in Austin or Houston, not on raw land out in the boonies.

Manthong's picture

Everyone gets corn-holed in N.E. Illinois.

Even with $50 oil, “summer corn blend” and taxes have gas up around $3.75.


juangrande's picture

Used to be farmers grew food. 

Falconsixone's picture



Chrome it,  put a gold propeller on it, stand it on end and sell it to the Des Moines city council for $450,000 so they have something to remember what was and left.

BTFDemocracy's picture

I been out there on ground level in rural Colorado/Utah and I am very sad for those farmers.

They say "the good old times" and that's an understatement. Everything is in ruins. Back in 2011 one farmer who had acres of "abandoned" equipment told that the gov't even pays him not to grow/farm. Not sure which banker's idea it was to persuade the gov't to pay farmers to stop farming (and drive up prices), but he showed me the math and this once wealthy miner/farmer who had more than a million dollars of equipment in scrapmetal alone, rusting away, will die poor, while selling his equipment at scrap prices to keep the next day going.

armageddon addahere's picture

"Where's Jim Rogers and his "farmers driving Maseratis" bullshit?"

Take another look at the chart. He was right for 27 years in a row, wrong for one year. That is why he lives in a penthouse in Singapore  and you don't.

beaker's picture

Let me tell all the uninformed armchair investment pros here just what farmland is...  It is a real asset that cash flows.  It's real estate that hardley ever has any vacancy and is never obsolete unlike commercial real estate.  It is in diminishing supply.  It is critical to the stability of a nation. If it is over-leveraged, it can bite you in the ass.  It is not some fucking paper derivative and it will never go to zero like Lehman Bros stock.  It is not portable like gold - but gold can be taxed at 50% and get screwed overnight. It is also pretty low odds that the govt will overly fuck it up to the point of jeopardizing the nation's food supply.  No asset class is perfect, but farmland checks off on a helluva lot more boxes than paper or other assets.  Just sayin...

acetinker's picture

I upvoted you, but I gotta say that gov.t will declare your property theirs when push comes to shove.

Without going into further detail, I will just say that the only things you actually own are between your ears.

Same as it ever was.

UP Forester's picture

Try not paying taxes, and see how much you actually own.

Sure, you can work the land, but when things get bad, all you'll have is a bunch of sweat-rings and .gov trucks hauling off your harvest.

beaker's picture

True. So next year nobody plants anything. Then who loses?

acetinker's picture

What is this, extortion?  You fkn dumbass.  You think you can intimidate.  Fuck you and everyone who looks like you!

Take your dried out Calfornia farm and shove it up your ass.  

Calmyourself's picture

beaker, ever heard of a Kulak?   That is what happens the second year and the third..  Get ready beaker..

acetinker's picture

Not many today know what sweat rings or granny beads are.  I have never known of a harvest time quite as brutal as this one.

Neither have the harvested.  The vast majority haven't the faintest clue.

This may just be the final harvest.

Then again, the harvesters may move to China, or Russia, where they will be treated like the dogs they are !

Any of you familiar with JoAnne Collins?  She has foretold your future.

Live it.                                    Edit: Suzanne, not Joanne.

Cornfedbloodstool's picture

You will be the USSA's verzion of the Kulak.

Augustus's picture

The only reason this farmer has a problem is that he started with the corn about 10 years too late.  Farmers running 1,000 or more acres have made a whole lot of money during that time.  this guy is not going to earn anything if he now tries to turn it back to pasture.  If he knew how to farm in the first place he would still be able to make a reasonable profit from the corn and beans. 

Sure the land prices are going to come down.  When the farmers were rolling in the cash they bid it up and then just paid cash for the farm exxpansion.  Those times are in the past, particularly when the high USD is killing their export markets.

I don't think anyone is gong to make much from leasing out their farmland.  Land that is selling for maybe $5,000 an acre leases for about $200 a year.  Then pay property taxes and fencing.  Not much cash left as ROI.

Falconsixone's picture

He should grow basketball players for the first year then football and baseball players for two years then go back to eatin corn. The field should be monsato free by then. If not grow five years of spec op killers to make a run down to 800 North Lindbergh Blvd. St. Louis, Missouri and grow some blood boring holes.

Augustus's picture

Exactly correct.

After increasing in value by 3000% or so, a 3% decline in a year is a ZH disaster?

Click bait bullshit.

de3de8's picture

Explain the juxtaposition to those farmers who can spend 100's of thousands on competitive pulling tractors. Purely entertainment machines.

Richard Chesler's picture

"need to sell this piece of equipment."

Raise your hand if you also thought of president Obongo.


localsavage's picture

They would be shot as terrorists and the MSM would blame it on the Republicans.

thecrud's picture
thecrud (not verified) localsavage Apr 2, 2015 3:12 PM

Well there aint really much of anyone else, I mean unless you think Hillary had some plan that did not work out.

Agstacker's picture

Price of hog is crap and price of bacon is at an all-time high, something's missing here...

BoPeople's picture
BoPeople (not verified) Agstacker Apr 2, 2015 3:59 PM

Jewel had a one day sale on bacon for $1.98/lb. I usually get a couple of lbs when it is $2.99/lb, which seems to be every week these days at one store or another.

Blano's picture

Bacon itself is crap now too.

Started buying it again after several years.  Tried 4 different brands.  I like my bacon crispy, which means there has to be a fair amount of meat on it.  They were all 75-80% FAT.  Totally disappointed. 

A friend suggested precooked bacon.  Wasn't awful, just wasn't quite the same and you sure don't get much in a box.

Thirtyseven's picture

Bacon is crap, now, then, and will be tomorrow too. 

I haven't eaten that shit in 20 years.  No wonder the average ZH poster is 250 going on 300, but hey, you're all ready to take on our oppressive government right?

Deathrips's picture

Well its a possibility hes a fag....or Joo...or Muslim...but that doesnt make up for the attack on bacon and zero.


His IQ is 37....he told us all. So I know that for a fact.

He is from now on 37!!!


juangrande's picture

My friend from Scotland was lamenting all of the fat in American bacon. He says it's not like that across the pond. He's going to get a loin and slice and cure it himself.

Seek_Truth's picture

Tell him to go to a local butcher shop to buy bacon. Problem solved.

Unless he enjoys curing it himself, that is.

deflator's picture

 American bacon isn't from the loin--that would be Canadian bacon. 

 American bacon is from the belly--pork bellies.


 There is a lot of nasty pork at the stores these days. If you feed a pig too much and don't keep their environment clean, the meat is too fatty and inedible imo. 

Freddie's picture

I avoid red meat and pork.  I do not have high blood pressure either. 

I try to avoid eating other mammals but Amerika is filled with homo-cidal maniacs especially in govt and dual shitizen Jonathan Pollard types in the State Dept, Intel and MIC.

boattrash's picture

FFS! Give me about a pound of bacon, a half a dozen over-easy, buttered toast, a couple sausage gravey & biscuits and a tall glass of 1/2 & 1/2.

I don't have high blood pressure or high cholesterol either.

shovelhead's picture

Thats OK.

I'm eating yours and mine.


Augustus's picture

Actually bacon and eggs are pretty healthy.  Just leave off the pancakes and syrup or biscuits and gravy.

ghengis86's picture

Also, too much water and "flavor enhancing solution" added. All that Oscar Meyer and national brand bacon is shit; comes out of the package as slimey as shit. Real bacon isn't slippery. Go to a butcher and get plain old, cured, slab bacon. Put on foil lined baking sheet, oven to 400 and let it go to desired crispness (15-20 mins).

I saw some pork with 8% "enhancing solution" before; they do the same with chicken too. Find a good butcher.

Zoltan's picture

Don't use foil. Use parchment paper. Save the grease for frying eggs.

How bacon should be done.


juangrande's picture

Whose mom or grandma kept a jar of bacon grease? My mom did.

Excellent green bean flavoring!

Jack Burton's picture

Beef is so high here in the upper Midwest that you need to see a loan officer before you bring home a Beef Roast to the family for Sunday Dinner!

Augustus's picture

My grocery keeps the beef in a special viewing room.  Charge admission to just look at the stuff.

KansasCrude's picture

Bacon is now a cult thing I agree just bought a pork loin high quality meat on sale for $1.77/lb.  Pretty much top quality boneless chops and you decide how thick to cut them, for the grill, the oven, for soups, stews, stir fry, smoking options.  Bacon gets it on  with everything, when the fast food chains started putting it on everything price went crazy.  Went to a high end wedding a couple months back and they had bacon in 1/2 the desserts,  Pecan Pie with.....bacon, several options chocolate pecan wiith bacon.  Cupcakes....with bacon.  Seriously it was ok but IMO not a marriage made in heaven.   Bacon Fest running around the country 4-5K up to 10K folks showing up cause they love....bacon.  Bottom line the good stuff unless you want to pay big bucks is getting sucked up by the foodies.  Means you are paying up for bacon and bacon carries a surcharge compared to the CUT OUT value of the pork carcuss so enjoy the cheaper chops etc.  So really supply demand is working here.  Still some deals out there but I don't see much under $3.50 LB. sale price  of quality.  Yep pork prices are under valued market taking all that cheap grain and not allowing the farmer to plus value monetize it thru pork production.  Not fair but thats the way it is

oudinot's picture

Bacon has an overpowering taste, that's why the restaurants put it on everything so that the powerful taste will disguise their poor fare as  bacon is relatively cheap.

I love bacon with eggs, but not with anything else; if one has a indiscriminate palate I guess its alright on all foods but doesn't make much sense.

RichardParker's picture

You can thank the ecoterrorists for the water shortage in CA.